posted on 23 April 2021, updated on 23 April 2021
Published on 13 January 2021, the below council tax information letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government highlights the second report from the National Implementation Advisor for Care Leavers, which brings together some of the work being carried out by authorities to support care leavers. This includes the powers available to authorities to offer discretionary council tax reductions to young people leaving care.
Revenues and benefits teams will be aware that they can support vulnerable groups to help manage their council tax liabilities. Many authorities offer council tax reductions to care leavers. When local authorities choose to provide reductions, this should be set out in their local offer for care leavers.
A local offer gives children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families information about what support services the local authority think will be available in their local area.
Definition of care leaver
A care leaver is an adult who has spent time living in the care system, away from their family. This could be with a foster family, in a children's home or supported housing service, or under another arrangement as agreed by a social worker.
Young people usually leave care when they are 18 years old. They are provided with accommodation but often have no support to manage their tenancy, keep track of their bills, and stay in education and employment. At such a young age, it can be a challenge to juggle all these tasks without a safety net, if things go wrong.
Definition of category 3 young person
A category 3 young person is a young person who is aged 18 or over, and who used to be a category 2 young person and would continue to be so if they were under the age of 18, or who was being looked after by a local authority when they reached the age of 18, and, immediately before ceasing to be looked after was a category 1 child.
The Children's Commissioner for Wales and the Welsh government approved young people leaving residential care obtaining equivalent levels of support to those leaving foster care. Making sure that no young person has to leave their accommodation on their 18th birthday when this is in the middle of an important year of studies such as A-levels.
The Welsh Government approved care leavers rights to
- a personal adviser for all care leavers up to the age of 25
- guaranteed financial support for care leavers going into higher education
- that local authorities publish clear information on care leavers' entitlements through the tax and benefits systems
In February 2019, the Welsh Government announced that young Care Leavers would be exempt from paying council tax and as a consequence since 1 April 2019, care leavers under the age of 25 have been exempt from paying council tax in all areas of Wales.
Additional information relating to care leavers entitlement to service from local authorities can be found below